tv Anderson Cooper 360 CNN November 29, 2012 1:00am-2:00am PST
i don't care what it costs. i think it's great. it gives people a little bit of hope and fun. you do a wonderful job. congratulations. thank you for joining me. >> thank you. good luck. >> thank you. i need it. that's all for us tonight. "ac 360" starts right now. starts right now. >> we begin the way anderson does every night, keeping them honest, not choosing sides or playing political favorites, there's plenty of that on the other cable news channels. we are interested in facts. they do exist. tonight, the facts about taxes that the majority of americans established on election day. the nation's leading conservative paper is onboard. now so is a republican leading lawmaker. they now agree with the president who wants to let taxes go up on income on more than $250,000 a year.
if mr. obama and the democrats get their way, doing a deal to raise those rates where all bush cuts on all tax brackets expire at the end of the year. that is something that gives president obama a lot of clout right now. you can agree or disagree with the president's policy. that's for you to decide. congressman cole happens to disagree strongly, but at the same time he recognizes the political reality that all tax cuts will expire on january 1st. >> in my view, we all agree that we are not going to raise taxes on people that make less than $250,000. we should take them out of this discussion right now and continue to fight against any rate increases. continue to try to work honestly for a much bigger deal.
>> congressman cole who will join us shortly is a rock rib republican, and is no longer a lone voice in the wilderness. i'm quoting now, the fact is that republicans face a new political reality on taxes. president obama's re-election means that taxes for upper income earners are going up one way or another. the question is how republicans should handle this reality. congressman cole, as you heard and a number of other conservatives, they believe they should give this one to the president not because they want to, but because they have to. republican leaders though, they disagree. >> i told tom earlier in our conference meeting that i disagreed with him. it will hurt small businesses, it will hurt our economy, that is why this is not the right approach. >> you can agree or disagree with that position. however, keeping them honest,
house speaker john boehner and others have been trying to play down the fact that president obama and others got a significant boost from voters. >> in politics there is the temptation from those who win office to think that they have a mandate to do what they will. >> i don't think so because they re-elected the house republicans. so whether people intended or not, we have divided government. >> the american people made clear that there is no mandate for raising tax rates. >> keeping them honest. president obama campaigned and won on letting taxes go up for the top earners. so his victory throws cold water on that claim. democrats gained seats in the senate and on the house. recent cnn polling shows that mosh than two in three people support tax hikes for the wealthy. it is something that republicans will be grapling with from now until new year's day. joining us is congressman cole, a republican.
thank you for joining us. >> thank you. >> your proposal that republican lawmakers should agree with democrats, extend the tax breaks for those making $250,000 a year or less before the end of the year, deal with these tax rates for the wealthiest later, that's an idea that a lot of republicans are resisting. what kind of push back are you getting? >> i think the reaction is mixed. some support is. some don't. i think the issue is simple. i don't believe in raising tax rates on anybody. i think it's bad for the economy, bad for job creation. ultimately by slowing down growth cuts revenue. i think the president need to come to the table with real entitlement reform. having said that, if we agree that taxes shouldn't go up on 98% of the people? shouldn't we take that now, set that aside, and i think we'll win the argument on the other areas.
putting people at risk when we agree taxes shouldn't go up is something that we shouldn't do. >> speaker boehner said they need to stick to their position and freeze tax rates. i guess they believe that if you do what you are suggesting, you lose a lot of leverage at far as entitlement cuts and other spending cuts are concerned. how do you respond to that? >> i respect that but i don't agree with it. you don't use the american people as a hostage in a negotiating-type situation. i think at the end, this is the r rev ladies and gentlemen for the democrats not the republicans in this. my advice was given privately. i was asked what i thought. my position hasn't changed so i'm happy to talk about it. the speaker is going to negotiate this deal with the president. it will come back and ask for
support. i've supported him every time i have been asked to make a vote. i have confidence in him as a negotiator. but when i'm asked my opinion. what we should do with 98% of the american people. i would say let's protect them and continue the fight. >> is this an idea you're ready to commit to and you're ready to fight for it despite the pushback from your own members, including grover norquist who puts forth that no new tax pledge? >> i admire grover norquist. i signed that pledge. i don't think we would be breaking it by making tax cuts temporary. i want to make all of them permanent quite frankly. this is a debate about political tactics. in the end, all republicans want to make sure that we don't increase taxes. but if there is a place that we can get 80% of the bush tax cuts for 98% of the american people permanent, i think we should do that and continue to fight for the rest are.
>> i spoke to grover norquist yesterday, he opposes anything along the lines of allowing a debate to go forward next year over the 2%, the 3%. those making over $250,000 a year. he wants it all part of the same package. you disagree with him. >> well look, he is my friend. we talk you know political strategy and politics. this is my position. it was given in private. when it was asked. if was leaked by somebody. that's fine. i won't say one thing different to you than i would say to my own constituents. this is what i tell them if they say what do you think we ought to do? i'm one voice. and i support the speaker. i recognize he is the speaker. i support my conference. they are trying to do the right thing. i think in this case the democrats and the president are trying to use the tax issue. instead they ought to be coming to the table with real spending cuts, real entitlement reform and real tax reform.
so for they haven't done it. >> thank you very much for joining us. >> wolf, thank you. joining us now, senator rand paul from kentucky. let's get to this fiscal cliff. the president set a goal of $4 trillion in debt reduction. are there specific ways of reaching that figure that both of you might agree on? >> well, you know i think one compromise i can agree with democrats on is that we need to cut some military spending. i think the compromise is conservatives like myself who think that national defense is important, should cut on military spending, and cut on some social welfare spending. i think that compromise could get the spending cuts. >> here is the question, both sides are going to have to compromise beyond defense spending. is there anything you see supporting? >> mostly has to be on the spending side. we used to spend 20% of gdp. we're now spending 25% of gdp.
federal spending has gone up at an alarming rate in the past four years. and when people say we have to raise taxes on rich people, one there is not enough money and you often find when you get rai to raising rates, you get less revenue. and when you lower rates you get more revenue. >> what do you make of tom cole's proposal that republican lawmakers should extend tax rates for those making less before the end of this year and deal with the tax rates for the wealthiest americans at a later date? >> once you separate them out there is not a lot of sympathy among the public for rich people. they say let's get those rich people. but the public often doesn't realize that the public pays almost half of the income tax. top 1% pay almost half of the income tax. when the president says it's bad to raise taxes on everyone, that would be taxmageddon, then says
i want to raise it on 40% of the nation's income. i think that is a big mistake. it is better to leave the money in the hands of those who earned it. leave it in the private sector. >> i understand you don't want to raise the tax rates on anyone rich or anyone. what about capping deductions, eliminating loopholes, stuff like that. are you open to that? >> yes, if it is for tax reform. if we were to lower rates. for example, i think you could lower the top rate from 35 to 33 and get more revenue and get rid of some deductions at the same time. but i'm not going to vote to bring more revenue to washington. i want less money coming to washington, less money spent up here. that's how you get the my to grow. we're not going to have more economic growth if we send more money to washington. we'll have less economic growth. >> if all the republicans hold firm to that position you just
spelled out in significant detail, there's not going to be a deal, you know, between now and december 31st. and all americans, middle class, rich, they are all going to see their tax rates going up january 1st. how are you going to feel about that? >> the thing is last year we did make a deal. the president came forward and said when you have slow growth less than 2%, raising taxes would be a bad idea. we have less than 2% growth, why would raising taxes now be a good idea? it is still a bad idea and i think while i think there is room for a prom promise, i don't think one person gets to decide where the compromise is. >> senator, the administration, the president who was re-elected, impressive electoral college win, got the majority of vote, he ran on this notion of raising taxes on the wealthiest americans. i suspect he will probably hold firm on that. we'll see what happens over the
next three, four weeks. that clock is ticking. anything you want to leave us with? >> no, but as long as we're spending money on robots, squirrels, don't raise any taxes. >> thank you very much. let us know what you think. follow us on twitter @ac360. up next, another twist in the administration's attempt to explain what happened the night four americans died in libya and their attempt to explain the explanation. potential nominee for secretary of state caught up in the controversy may have sunk deeper today. w?
keeping them honest now on the libya tragedy and the obama administration's blurry account of it that night. four americans died that night and there are plenty of unanswered questions of what went wrong. most of it focusing on the messaging that happened afterwards. another scorching day today for susan rice. a day after the iraqi session, she met this morning with
republican senator susan collins of maine. >> i continue to be troubled by the fact that the un ambassador decided to play what was a political role at the height of a contentious presidential election campaign by agreeing to go on the sunday shows to present the administration's position. >> listen to what she is talking about. one of several appearances that ambassador rise made about foiv days after the consulate killings. >> what happened in benghazi was in fact a spontaneous reaction to what had transpired hours before in cairo. extremist elements came to the consulate as this was unfolding. >> notice the phrase extremist elements. we have since learned that she
was referring to talking points to remove any links. if you recall former cia director david petraeus mate to the committee, he said that the acting director misspoke and that the cia changed the talking points. later he said it was actually the cia that changed the talking points. it is a bit of a mess and a headache for president obama who defended susan rice today but did not mention libya. >> thank you we want to get back to work. thank you so much, guys. >> can you talk about it at all? >> susan rice is extraordinary. couldn't be prouder of the job that she has done at the u.n. [ applause ] >> here to talk about it sh, a
senior fellow at the foundation of the defense of democracies. also joining us, fran townsend. fran, you have been at the white house when a nominee or potential nominee is in trouble with members of congress, you know when a high stakes meeting this was between ambassador rice and three of her harshest senate critics. usually a lot of preparation goes into a meeting like that. that makes it all the more surprising to me and i'm sure to you that the acting cia director michael morrell would stumble so badly. do you think if it was an innocent mistake it adds fuel to the fire, doesn't it? >> that's right, wolf. look, this was -- the event took place on september 11th.
mistakes in the early days are understandable because of the fog of war, conflicting reports. you can sort of excuse that. but this far later it is unfortunate. listen, mike morrell, the acting director of the cia, he had been senate confirmed as the deputy prior to this, he is a career officer, very well respected. i'm sure he's furious for having made the mistake and being give cgiven bad information. there is no excuse for it this late in the game. these meetings were so important to be making those kinds of mistakes now. >> you say it is not an insignificant mistake that mike morrell made? >> no. i don't think so. i mean the administration got itself into trouble, particularly ambassador rice got herself in unnecessary trouble just being so assertive on
television and denying the possibility that you had an organized terrorist attack in benghazi. i think if ambassador rice and others in the administration had been a little less determined to say that this well-known video was behind it all i think this problem would have never happened. >> those talking points used by ambassador rice, the subject of great contention still. still a number of unanswered questions. as a former cia officer, you say her performance raises a red flag that officials are supposed to analyze this information for themselves. isn't there a danger in having a political appointee freelancing when sensitive, classified material is concerned? >> i don't really think so. i think ambassador rice could
have easily said that we may have had an organized terrorist group that may have been affiliated with al qaeda behind the attack in benghazi. i don't think it would have been compromising of any sensitive information. i think the administration has used that as an excuse. and really, you know, america has a lot of overclassification. there's no doubt about it. but that's one reason, you know, we have adults and they're supposed to be able to handle this. i don't think it would have been difficult for her to give a more nuanced discussion of what transpired in bengahzi. >> fran, you dealt with classified and unclassified talking points when you served over at the white house. do you agree? >> normally before a sunday show, what happens is the communicators and those who drafted the talking points will prepare the individual who is going out on the sunday shows,
especially when they are going to do multiple shows, to make sure they understand where the lines are. we don't know whether that happened here. if it didn't, it should have, and you learn how to make a more nuanced argument so you don't cross classification lines and you don't speak inaccurately. frankly, this was poorly handled. clearly the talking points were poorly coordinated. and she went out there making it sound crystal clear and she was poorly served and she didn't use the talking point that she had been given in the way she might have to get to raul's point. >> fran, you went to libya. you were there just before the terrorist attack in the u.s. consulate in bengahzi. you were westerning that al qaeda was gaining a foothold in libya. what do you think as to why those references were deleted. >> it's off times, wolf, these talking points went to multiple
agcies, probably a dozen agencies, and dozens of people touched them. nobody ever took final responsibility for the clearing of them. it's sort of a typical bureaucratic fumble as far as i'm concerned. and the more frustrating thing to me, wolf, is the fact of what we're not talking about, while we continue to talk about the talking points, what is lost in this is as you say, prior to this event, al qaeda was gaining a foothold in libya, and why wasn't more security given to them at the u.s. consulate. the substance of this is lost in the debate about the talking points and that is the more important issue to me. guys, thank you very much for joining us. >> thanks. >> pleasure. >> rebel fighters in syria are claiming a major victory. they say they shot down three regime aircraft in the past 24 hours, including a mig fighter jet. if true, the regime may be
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in syria, new signs tonight that the regime has been battered with its own weapons. rebel fighters in serious say they have shot down three milt aircraft. rebels claims that the wreckage of a mig jet that they brought down. cnn shot that video. this one was posted online by the rebels. they say it's a helicopter shot down by a missile. it appears to be a direct hit. there it is until now the rebels have not had the fire power to pill off attacks like these, but in recent weeks they captured a
number of government air bases. arwa damon saw one of them herself in aleppo. she joins us now. opposition fighters say they shot down three syrian aircraft over the last few days. tell people what you saw? >> in the past 24 hours this is a dramatic development given one of the main complaints of opposition is that they don't have the capability to take on the regime's air power. we went to the scene where a fighter jet was bound earlier. we saw the burnt wreckage spanning for quite a distance and being picked through by villagers young and old alike and rejoicing that they were finally able to see something that had caused them so many nightmares, because of the jet's
pounding, the helicopters pounding these various villages, towns and cities nonstopped now becoming trophies of war that they were proudly showing off. we saw children on the back of a tractor making off with a sizable tangled lump of metal. we spoke to one man and he said he was an eyewitness of everything. he said the crash happened in an olive grove. he said the plane was hit two pilots ejected. at that point he said everyone fanned out and looked for the pilots. they found one of them unconscious with a head injury, and they're looking for the second pilot now. >> you also went to a former syrian air force base, headquarters, if you will, seized by the rebels, where heavy weapons were confiscated what did the opposition fighters tell through? >> because of the seizure of this base they say they were able to bring down the jet and the two other aircraft, the two
helicopters. this base is massive. it spans as far as the eye can see. there was an intense battle that took place there for 24 hours. but that is after the rebels had actually laid siege to the base for two entire months. they managed to clear all the villages around the base of assad loyalists, of assad fighters. they then positioned snipers around the base, preventing, they tell us, from regime helicopters from bringing in supplies to this unit. they were forced then to air drop supplies to the unit, and they would often miss the target and the supplies would end into opposition hands. and when they were weak enough, they moved in. they say they captured a treasure trove of weapons from this location. heavy machine guns, ak-47s, but most importantly of all anti-aircraft missiles.
they say they found hundreds of them even though they're not all functioning. video shows stacks of metal box boxes. at this point, rthe regime hat military advantage, but many tell us the balance is beginning to ever so slightly shift. >> is there a hard sense, you're there on the ground in northern syria, that one of these sides, the regime or the opposition has the upper hand right now where you are in northern syria? >> the rebels are slowly, slowly gaining ground. but at this point in time the regime has the advantage of the air power and military arsenals. there's been one scene resonating throughout our entire trip from all of the fighters, it all of the activists we've been talking to, and that is the longer assad stays in power, the greater the strength will grow
of the extremists that have managed to implement themselves on the fringes of the opposition and elements of al qaeda as well. >> very disturbing development. stay safe over there. thank you. >> could be the largest case of medicare fraud ever. dialysis company accused of throwing away medicine worth hundreds of millions of dollars with taxpayers footing the bill. keeping them honest, next. throwing away medicine. keeping them honest. kr
it runs 2,000 dialysis clinics across the united states, and that has added up to a $7 billion business. the empire run by the guy who dresses by one of the three mus musketeers, lives by the slogan and leads his employees who he calls villagers, in cheers. >> it's so good to get out thof that ceo costume and back into my clothes. >> keen theory is his name, and at $15 million, he is the best compensated ceo in colorado. so why should you care? most of his company oop's reven comes from aingeal is source -- taxpayers. most comes from medicare and medicaid payments, which is why
the allegations you're about to hear are so alarming. if the allegations are true, the company threw away hundreds of millions of dollars of medicine and you paid for it. it could be the largest case of medicare fraud in u.s. history. here is drew griffin. >> reporter: it was just by chance that dr. vaynor, a medical director was discussing clinic procedures with one of the nurses. and the two say they saw something that was very wrong. medicine, lots of it was being tossed in the trash. the clinic workers were being told to do it. >> when we sat down and we started talking about it, and getting into details, we actually realized what is going on. >> reporter: the alleged waste was being carried out on a massive scale, and the nurse and doctors say they knew almost immediately why. they claim it was a way for their company to defraud the government, overbill medicare and medicaid and make a fortune.
we are talking about a huge amount of money. >> we are talking about hundreds of millions easily. of the profits that this company raped from those two drugs, hundreds of millions of dollars. >> reporter: because we are talking about defrauding medicaid and medicare, that's hundreds of millions that you, the taxpayer, pay for. they say the alleged fraud schemes they discovered were going on at company's clinics all across the country -- more than 1,800 of them with teps ted thousands of patients. multiply the numbers, the doctor says it was all a deliberate strategy. >> it was a scheme to increase and boost the medicare revenue. medicare payment to increase the revenue. >> reporter: here is how the doctor says invita instructeded
the doctors to administer a 100 milligram of iron called venofer. >> this is 100 milligrams. for example f a patient was required this dose once per week, you would administer 100 milligrams and waste nothing. charge for 100 milligrams. out of this one vial, they gave 50 milligrams out of it sh, 50% the trash. 25, 75, to the trash. 25 again, 7 5 to the trash. so essentially two whole vials could have been given without waste. >> the more it used the more they were able to bill the government. bill and barbara claim they
tried to get it stopped. but they say they were told to stop causing trouble and continue to follow the company's protocols. >> that is what upset me the most. that's when i said to the doctor, i cannot do that. >> reporter: barber said he quit his job and left the clinic rather than continue where fraud was going on. dr. veneer claims the company punished him for speaking up. >> of course, once they found out, they did not renew my medical directorship or my practice. we are three physicians without a practice. and it was a significant loss of revenue. >> today, both men have filed a whistleblower lawsuit charging davita with massive medicare fraud. they stand to make millions if davita is found guilty. the ceo wouldn't talk but the company's attorney kim rivera did. >> the allegation is simple. that davita was being paid to throw away medicine and came up with schemes as the plaintiffs
call it, grids to maximize profits in terms of throwing away waste. what is davita's response? >> is wrong. if you look at the facts of the case, first of all, the doctors make dosing decisions, decisions were being made by doctors based on what was in the best interests of their patients. and they took into account a variety of things. you can't just look at, you know, one issue. you have to look at things like infection control. what the patient is going to do, how the patient will do with particular doses. so during that entire time what we did, what the doctors did, was appropriate. >> reporter: but other companies including davita's main competitor used smaller vials, smaller combinations, limiting what was throwing away.
davita says the decision to throw away medicine was based on sound medical decisions and never for waste. they claim the company made as much as $800 million over billing the government say that won't hold up in court. >> it is not just the taxpayers that are the victims here. it is the health care system. >> it doesn't take a graduate degree to understand what is going on here. this is just dishonesty. >> reporter: davita denies that and vows to fight this case in a georgia court, but earlier this year in texas, denying it did anything wrong, davita settled a similar case for $55 million. pat byrnes for the watchdog group tack payers against fraud says the bigger problem is even if a company gets caught cheating the government, the company executives never seem to face punishment. fines are paid, business continues as usual. >> the way it is set up now, if
the fraud is not caught, then taxpayers foot the bill. if the fraud is caught, stockholders foot the bill. >> reporter: burns and others have been arguing for much harsher treatment when companies are found guilty of defrauding the federal government. he points to a record billion dollar fine, mparticularly in te pharmaceutical businesses, executives don't get punished and the companies continue to do business with the government. one of the company's defenses to cnn is that the company has declined to be charged by the government. >> the government has come in and investigated what the allegations are and in both cases the government decided to drop it and move on. the decision should not be miss construed about the merits of the case. >> the u.s. department of justice doesn't have the people.
>> reporter: pat burns says the department of justice declines to get involved all the time, and people are forced to hire their own lawyers. which brings us back to one doctor and one nurse who stand to make millions if the allegations of fraud prove true. the u.s. government will recover the bulk of whatever they win. they and others like them are essentially the u.s. tax payers deputies in the fight against health care fraud. are you surprised that you guys have to defend the u.s. taxpayer and not the u.s. government knocking on this door? >> i'm not surprised. it's not easy to come forward and stand up and tell the truth but it is the right thing to do. >> reporter: their case set forever trial later this year. >> drew s there a chance that
davita just settles this case and puts all the allegations behind them and continues to do business with the government? >> you know, the attorney for the company said they couldn't rule that out, but insists this time the company is going to fight the allegations. that is the bread and butter for the $7 billion business. so davita needs the government and they will do everything they can to make sure they have that contract in place and keep working. >> even with all that money at stake and the alleged fraud at the center, why isn't the government's own lawyers taking up the case? >> congress has set aside more
than $600 million to fight fraud. but the u.s. attorney has decided not to intervene. does that mean that she thinks that this is a bad case? all we can tell you is that in a letter to the u.s., the u.s. attorney's lack of involvement in the case does not determine who is the winner, but that a reminder, that if these two guys win, the doctor and the nurse win, whatever settlement they do get, the biggest winner of that settlement is going to be the federal government. >> drew, thank you for that report. we'll continue to monitor and see what happens. >> 57 years after albert einstein's death the world is getting a look at 14 photographs of his brain. for neurosurgeons like sanjay gupta, it's a gift, a window into genius. sanjay joins us next.
we all know deep down that albert einstein's brain was different than ours. but new photographs suggest those differences are serious and thousand they might explain his genius. the paper includes photographs of his brain. fast forward to 2012. you can imagine the interest that these images hold for our chief medical correspondent, the neurosurgeon, sanjay gupta. sanjay gupta joins us now. what can you tell about a brain just by looking at it from the
outside? >> look at some of these images over here. pay close attention to the c convolutions, the ridges and valleys of the brain. these can develop and change as someone goes through life. what we noticed in einstein's brain, there there are a lot of convolutions, more than normal. more ridges and more valleys. that's important because you have more surface area to the brain then. more surface area means more neurons, and that alone doesn't indicate that someone will be more intelligent, but what it means is they have the capacity for it. >> how else does einstein's brain differ from most peoples? >> it's hard to know exactly what the differences mean, but this image in particular, you can see a splint in the frontal lobe.
that's unusual. no one knows exactly for sure what that means, but that part of the brain is responsible for executive decisionmaking. responsible for judgment. responsible for getting tasks done. so if they're a great thinker but they never act on those thoughts, never deliver on those thoughts, maybe the world would have never known. also one more image real quick what you're looking at here is the parietal clolobes, there's pushal area a aa aa aal purple area. those are different. on the right side, that's responsible for spatial relations, takining abstract ids and putting them together. in einstein's brain, they are quite large. >> is there anything about einstein's brain that has implications for mere mortals like us? >> i thought about that a lot as
well. one thing that is interesting is this idea that are you born with it or do you develop it? it's the nature and nurture question. you can ask the same thing when it comes to einstein's brain. if you look at this one image again over here, you look at the middle of the brain, on that left side, you see sort of an upside down horseshoe area, that area is responsible for your motor control, for example. and in this case somebody who has fine dexterity would have a developed area of the brain there. we know einstein was a musician. he played the violin. here's why that's so important. is that he couldn't have been born with that. that was something that he developed. he became a progressively better musician. that part of the brain changes. it's the most remarkable thing. >> all of our viewers should snow sanjay is a neurosurgeon and he has a lot of experience with brains. thank you very much. >> thank you, wolf. also a very, very smart guy. let's get the latest on some other stories we're following
right now. >> the new york city nanny charged with murder in the killing of two children has pleaded not guilty. police say when the mother came home she found her children dead and saw ortega stab herself with a kitchen knife. warren jeffs who is serving a life sentence on sexual assault charges, the texas attorney's general office started legal proceedings to seize the ranch where prosecutors say jeffs and others sexually abused children. and a record breaking $550 million powerball drawing tonight. the odds of winning, 1 in 175 million. wolf is back after this.